Archive for the ‘different christmas music’ Category

A Starbucks Ad Featuring Matt Pond PA

December 27, 2017

Matt Pond PA is a band from Pennsylvania led by Matt Pond (clever). Pond formed the band back in 1998 – they’ve changed members frequently but have released 13 records since. In 2005 the band released Winter Songs and I’m featuring the song, Snow Day from it tonight. Ten years after its release, the song was featured in a Starbucks ad. I’m guessing that made them more money that they had previously ever seen.

The band writes catchy, poppy tunes and they’re very good (good enough to get featured in a worldwide ad campaign).

MattPondPa.com
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Matt Pond PA – Snow Day

Starbucks Ad

 

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Traveling Day (Three Songs Tonight)

December 23, 2017

A few years ago I discovered that December 23rd is the busiest traveling day of the Christmas season. On this day I try to find songs about people coming home or missing those that aren’t. I’m featuring two that fit both categories nicely. And one that is close.

First up is a beautiful tune from Caroline Pennel. If you’re a follower of the TV program, The Voice, you might recognize Pennel as a contestant from season five of the show. Her song tonight is titled This Year and also features vocals from the very talented Aaron Espe who I presented on December 9th of last year.

This Year
“This year I´m coming home instead of staying wishing I was there
This year I´m gonna be there for all”

CarolinePennell.com
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Next up is I’m Coming Home from Robert Shirey Kelly, a Nashville based singer/songwriter (I’d write more about him but his ‘about’ pages on his website and his facebook page share very little information). The song is excellent nonetheless.

I’m Coming Home
“I guess you could say that I’ve been waiting
Since around the 26th of last December
I’ll be home by Christmas Eve”

RobertShireyKelly.com
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Last year was the first Christmas my wife and I spent as empty-nesters. Consequently, I expanded the traveling day theme to include melancholy songs about parents missing their kids. The final song tonight is a cover of Toyland from the band SHEL. If you’re just considering the lyrics of Toyland, then it fits neither category. The accompanying video from SHEL however features a young lady who discovers someone’s long forgotten stuffed toy and then seeks out its owner. Lovely cover and very sweet video.

SHEL by the way is a folk quartet from Fort Collins, CO featuring the sisters Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza. They write, direct and shoot all of their own videos (which is a feat). In 2015 their song, Exactly What You Wish For was featured in a Toys r Us ad. Watch it here (tearjerker alert).

Shelmusic.com
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Caroline Pennell – This Year (featuring Aaron Espe)

Robert Shirey Kelly – I’m Coming Home

SHEL – Toyland

Little Drummer Boy Featuring Doggies

December 11, 2017

You read it right. Little Drummer Boy featuring Doggies (from Walk Off The Earth).

And then one from Beard Guy (from Walk Off The Earth).

Talented and very creative bunch.
Walk Off The Earth Music Here.
Walkofftheearth.com
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Walk Off The Earth – Little Drummer Boy featuring Doggies

Beard Guy (Walk Off The Earth) Have Yourself A Merry Christmas

Odd Metered Christmas

December 10, 2017

During the holiday season of 2015, a singer named Shannon Soderlund decided to make a new video nearly every day, rearranging Christmas standards into odd meters.  As you’ll see, she records each part and then syncs them all together on-screen Pretty cool. And then she did it again last year. All of 2015 here. 2016 here. I produce video — to produce one nearly every day for a month (in addition to everything else she’s doing) is pretty amazing.

She also produced a Christmas record Sing We Now of Christmas. You can stream it or purchase it on her bandcamp site. (On Spotify hereiTunes, google play.)

Her song, Winter Savings, is a humorous take on Christmas shopping – “this year I insist we buy all our presents right after Christmas”.

In addition to all this she’s very active in the music scene in NYC.

Her odd-metered takes on the classics aren’t for everyone but Lord she can sing.

http://www.shannonsoderlund.com/

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O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – Shannon Söderlund – Odd-Metered Christmas

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Shannon Söderlund

Winter Savings

Sia’s All Original Christmas Record

December 9, 2017

I first heard Sia sing Little Black Sandals on a KRCW ‘live in studio’ compilation record way back in 2006 (or 7). It’s a great tune.

Then somewhere I discovered Zero 7 and realized Sia was the vocalist on their song, Destiny. Again… so good.

She has received an array of accolades including ARIA awards, and MTV Music Award and eight Grammy nominations. In total, Sia has been nominated for 167 awards and has won 50. She’s a bit of an odd duck but she is very talented.

In November of this year, Sia released her first record on Atlantic Records, Everyday Is Christmas. Sia wrote or co-wrote every song on the record with her producer, Greg Kurstin. Kustin has produced records for the Foo Fighters, Adele, Pink, Kelly Clarkson and many, many other artists.

In an article from billboard.com, Sia describes how she and Kurstin ended up writing the all-original 10-song album. In an interview with Zane Lowe she said, “I thought we had a bit of a shortage of good Christmas music. There’s obviously the classics and stuff, but anything new, I wasn’t vibing that much on it,” she said.

“I just was having so much fun, because it’s already there, all of the concepts, you just have to expand on them. It’s not like you have to have an original idea to begin with. It’s like, Christmas, mistletoe, ho-ho-ho, Santa Claus, Christmas list, elves. You’ve got all of the subject matter,” she explained.

“It was easy and fun. So, we did it in two weeks. And I couldn’t stop writing new songs — so, I ended up with an original album by accident.”

Not all of it is my cup of tea, but lots of points for all original material.

YOU HAVE TO CHECK OUT HER WEBSITE

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Everyday Is Christmas – iTunes
Everyday Is Christmas – Amazon
Everyday Is Christmas – Spotify

Sia – Candy Cane Lane

Sia – Snowman

The Roches – Star of Wonder/We Three Kings

December 18, 2015

The Roches are a three woman vocal band from New Jersey. They got their first big break as background vocalists for Paul Simon and then had one of their songs recorded by Phoebe Snow, The Married Men.

I discovered them working at WKDI, which was at the time the college radio station at Northern Illinois University. On The Road To Farifax County from their 1982 record, Keep On Doing is simply a beautiful song (it’s actually a cover as well. The song was written by David Massengill and was also a minor hit for Joan Baez).

In 1990, the Roches recorded and released an eclectic Christmas record, We Three Kings. It features 24 songs and while being different, is really quite good.

I’m going to feature two songs from it tonight but will also post it in its entirety below.

Star of Wonder/We Three Kings starts as a lovely three harmony vocal but turns a sharp corner to an almost Dire Straits feel when We Three Kings starts up (like i said, different).

Christmas Passing Through is a Suzzy Roche original and pretty much sums up the style and talent of the band. Give them a listen. I think you’ll enjoy them.

Star of Wonder/We Three Kings

Christmas Passing Through

We Three Kings (Full Album)

 

Lindisfarne – Winter Song

December 29, 2014

Lindisfarne is a British folk band formed in the late 60’s. Their first album, Nicely Out of Tune, featured a song titled “Winter Song.” While it is not officially a Christmas tune, it does mention the holiday and there is actually a facebook page designed to influence people to make it an “official Christmas tune.” (As if there is some council deciding such matters.)

Winter Song is a beautiful song and I’ll feature it tonight.

Winter Song – Lindisfarne

When Winter’s shadowy fingers first pursue you down the street
And your boots no longer lie about the cold around your feet
Do you spare a thought for summer whose passage is complete
Whose memories lie in ruins and whose ruins lie in heat
When winter….. comes howling in.

When the wind is singing strangely, blowing music thru your head
and your rain splattered windows make you decide to stay in bed
Do you spare a thought for the homeless tramp who wishes he was dead
Or do you pull the bedclothes higher, dream of summertime instead?
When winter….. comes howling in.

The creeping cold has fingers, that caress without permission
And mystic crystal snowdrops only aggravate the condition
Do you spare a thought for the gypsy with no secure position
Who’s turned and spurned by village and town, at the magistrate’s decision?
When winter….. comes howling in.

When the turkey’s in the oven, and the Christmas presents are bought
And Santa’s in his module, he’s an American astronaut
Do you spare a thought for Jesus, who had nothing but his thoughts,
Who got busted just for talking, and befriending the wrong sorts?
When winter….. comes howling in.
When winter….. comes howling in.

A Different, Yet Beautiful Take on O Christmas Tree

December 17, 2014

Last Christmas I discovered I could play Pandora via DirecTV – which means I can play Pandora through my old Bose (which 12 years later still sounds great). I generally only use Pandora at Christmas time as I use it to listen some of the diverse Christmas music not generally heard on radio.

One of my Pandora Christmas channels is “George Winston Holiday” which provides me with all kinds of great music in the genre of Windham Hill and Narada to jazz.

Via that channel, one of the artists I’ve discovered is Philip Wesley. Wesley is a pianist who writes and releases his music on his own label — everything independently. Despite his lack of a major record deal, he’s done quite well with several of his tunes reaching the Top 100 (even Top 10) on both Amazon.com and CD Baby’s charts (in the New Age Music category).

Wesley released Comfort And Joy in 2005. If you’re a George Winston or a David Lanz fan, you’ll love Wesley’s music.

Tonight I’ll feature his take on O Christmas Tree.

O Christmas Tree – Philip Wesley

Please Give A Listen to The Very Talented Rob Mathes

December 14, 2014

Up until a couple days ago I had never heard of Rob Mathes. In the music industry however, he is very well know.

As an arranger Rob has orchestrated music for a number of stars all over the stylistic spectrum from Elton John, Tony Bennett, Mary J Blige, and Tim McGraw to Lou Reed, Sade, Eric Clapton, Jay Z, Avril Lavigne, Fall Out Boy, Beck, Aretha Franklin, Hall and Oates, and Mariah Carey, also working with Classical artists such as Renee Fleming, Bryn Terfel, and Yo Yo Ma. Sting recorded Mathes’ arrangement of the classic American song “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” with Trumpeter Chris Botti. He arranged “You’ll Never Walk Alone” for The Three Tenors-Live In Paris CD and was the arranger and guitarist on the last six Pavarotti and Friends concerts held each year in Modena, Italy, Luciano Pavarotti’s hometown.

As a composer, Grammy winning conductor Leonard Slatkin commissioned Rob to write a piece based on Gershwin themes called “Gershwiniana” for The Los Angeles Philharmonic. His “A Standing Ground: Concertino For Orchestra” was just premiered by The Nashville Symphony conducted by Slatkin in February. He is currently working on a piece for The Britten Sinfonia, one of London’s finest contemporary ensembles.

As a songwriter, his songs have been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Oleta Adams, Aaron Neville, The Rascal Flatts, Wynonna Judd and Vanessa Williams among many others.

In 1995, Mathes released a Christmas record, William the Angel. And then in 1998 recorded a Christmas concert for PBS (Christmas is Coming). It appears there was a CD release of that concert. But Mathes’ website says it is scheduled for releases “soon.”

He continues to tour and puts on a Christmas concert every year. I’m going to feature several of his songs tonight.

I can’t really say any more about Rob Mathes but suggest you take a listen.  Very talented, spirited Christmas music that does not get radio airplay (and is a welcome relief to what does).

Wake Up It’s Christmas Morning

When The Baby Grew Up

William the Angel

Rise Up/Go Tell It On The Mountain

Silent Night

 

Yep, This Is An Ad For A Grocery Store

December 11, 2014

A few years back I became aware of the wonderful John Lewis store Christmas ads. It seems they are not alone in producing big budget, long ads. Sainsbury’s is a UK grocery store. This year the Sainsbury’s ad tells the story of the 1914, WWI Christmas Truce (Christmas Eve marks the 100th anniversary of the event). Pretty powerful ad. Tonight, I’ll feature the ad, a short documentary on the Christmas Truce and how the Sainsbury’s ad came to be. And then John McCutcheon’s great song, Christmas In The Trenches regarding the same incident.

Sainsbury’s 2014 Advert

Story Behind The Sainsbury’s Advert

Christmas In The Trenches

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